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We Need to Talk 
About Paid Editing… 
Sorting Out Wikipedia’s Most Enduring Argument 
Presented by: 
Andrew Lih (User:Fuzh...
The Ghosts of Paid 
Editing Past 
WikiScanner, MyWikiBiz, Bell Pottinger, Wiki-PR, 
and how we got to where we are now 
01...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
History of COI 
Editing 
Conflict-of-interest editing on 
Wik...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
WP:COI—the 
first version 
Fun fact: the Conflict of interest...
Paid 
Unconflicted 
Unpaid 
Conflicted
Paid 
Unconflicted 
Unpaid 
Conflicted 
Passionate 
advocate 
GLAM / Like-minded 
institution 
Volunteer 
Wikipedian 
Paid...
Paid 
Unconflicted 
Unpaid 
Conflicted 
Passionate 
advocate 
• POV warrior 
• Booster of alma mater 
GLAM / Like-minded 
...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Part of the problem 
¡ Everyone caught by WikiScanner 
– In ...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Part of the solution 
¡ Corporate Representatives for Ethica...
“It’s imperative … that the public relations industry 
demonstrate by cooperation and good behavior that 
it can work with...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
CREWE flow 
chart 
An attempt to guide communications 
profes...
Detail from 
CREWE flow 
chart
The Present 
Circumstances 
How to win friends and influence Wikipedia, 
Bright Line and its discontents 
02.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Adventures in Paid Editing 
¡ New Media Strategies (2008–10)...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Jimbo’s Bright Line 
¡ Introduced in 2012 
¡ The only clear...
“I am opposed to allowing paid advocates 
to edit in article space at all, but am 
extremely supportive of [giving them] 
...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Donovan 
House Group 
A group of 12 digital PR leaders, 
Wiki...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Statement on 
Wikipedia from 
participating 
communications 
...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Key points from the statement 
Participating firms pledged… 
...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Participating Firms, June 2014 
¡ Beutler Ink 
¡ Ogilvy & M...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Participating Firms, Aug. 2014 
¡ Beutler Ink 
¡ Ogilvy & M...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Industry 
Coverage 
Plus: AdAge, Al Jazeera America, 
BBC, CN...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Industry 
Reaction 
Agencies are very interested in this; 
he...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
A French perspective 
¡ Orange / France Telecom 
– A study c...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
CAC40 
Wikipedia’s 
article 
On the French Wikipedia, even 
a...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Orange improved 
Orange’s article 
Big time. And nothing was ...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
On the Village Pump (le Bistro) 
¡ Some editors asked questi...
It’s key to distinguish an edit with a COI that is 
purely promotional from one that is fixing a 
mistake.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Yamaha wants to 
value its history 
And they put up a wiki so...
Progetto 
Telecom Italia 
The first (to our knowledge) joint project between a 
company, a university and a local Wikimedi...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Who we are 
¡ Wikimedia Italia 
Italian chapter of the Wikim...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
What we have done 
¡ Training phase 
We organised lessons ab...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
The project 
Who was 
involved and why 
A group of six univer...
“Be transparent and this project will work well!” 
— Mono the monkey
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
How we avoid NNPOV 
¡ Being transparent! (i.e. following the...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Outcomes 
¡ Results 
– Mapping Telecom Italia presence on Wi...
The Future of Whatever 
We Decide to Call It 
Beyond Donovan House and CIPR 
04.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Coming in September 2014
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
A professional 
guide 
—Where Wikipedia is coming from 
—Why ...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Language is part of the problem 
¡ On the Wikipedia side… 
–...
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 
Where do we go from here? 
¡ Toward a more professional Wiki...
Thanks, Wikimania 2014!
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We Need to Talk About Paid Editing: Sorting Out Wikipedia's Most Enduring Argument

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This presentation explores the past, present and future of paid editing on Wikipedia, now one of the world's top 5 websites.

Originally presented at Wikimania 2014 in London by Andrew Lih (User:Fuzheado), Christophe Henner (User:Schiste), and William Beutler (User:WWB).

Published in: Internet
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We Need to Talk About Paid Editing: Sorting Out Wikipedia's Most Enduring Argument

  1. 1. We Need to Talk About Paid Editing… Sorting Out Wikipedia’s Most Enduring Argument Presented by: Andrew Lih (User:Fuzheado) Christophe Henner (User:Schiste) William Beutler (User:WWB) Conference Wikimania 2014 Barbican Centre, London #wikimania2014 Date August 10, 2014
  2. 2. The Ghosts of Paid Editing Past WikiScanner, MyWikiBiz, Bell Pottinger, Wiki-PR, and how we got to where we are now 01.
  3. 3. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 History of COI Editing Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia catalogues the “greatest hits” in self-interested Wikipedia edits from the site’s early years through today
  4. 4. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 WP:COI—the first version Fun fact: the Conflict of interest guideline was first created by an account blocked for sock puppetry... by Essjay!
  5. 5. Paid Unconflicted Unpaid Conflicted
  6. 6. Paid Unconflicted Unpaid Conflicted Passionate advocate GLAM / Like-minded institution Volunteer Wikipedian Paid advocate / consultant
  7. 7. Paid Unconflicted Unpaid Conflicted Passionate advocate • POV warrior • Booster of alma mater GLAM / Like-minded institution • Wikipedian-in-residence Volunteer Wikipedian • Seasoned editor in good standing Paid advocate / consultant • PR firm • Bright Line compliant?
  8. 8. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Part of the problem ¡ Everyone caught by WikiScanner – In 2006, a clever tool associated edits with IP addresses for virtually every well-known company, organization and government in the world ¡ Bell Pottinger – Well-known British PR firm caught deleting negative information from clients’ pages in 2011 ¡ Wiki-PR – Little-known US startup caught with massive sock puppet army in 2013 ¡ US Congress – They just can’t help themselves!
  9. 9. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Part of the solution ¡ Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement (CREWE) – Facebook group created in 2012 to foster discussion between the communications industry and the Wikipedia community ¡ Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) – UK-based trade association created a best practices guide, in cooperation with Wikimedia UK, advising companies to follow the “Bright Line”
  10. 10. “It’s imperative … that the public relations industry demonstrate by cooperation and good behavior that it can work with the Wikipedia community instead of taking the quick, easy-fix route” — Phil Gomes, Edelman Digital
  11. 11. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 CREWE flow chart An attempt to guide communications professionals through the process of using the talk page to suggest changes to articles
  12. 12. Detail from CREWE flow chart
  13. 13. The Present Circumstances How to win friends and influence Wikipedia, Bright Line and its discontents 02.
  14. 14. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Adventures in Paid Editing ¡ New Media Strategies (2008–10) – First efforts to bridge gap between clients and Wikipedia – Domino’s Pizza, McAfee ¡ Beutler Wiki Relations (2010–13) – Set up shop as a consultancy to do the same – C-SPAN, Glover Park Group ¡ Beutler Ink (2013–PRESENT) – Team of 6 writer-researchers + project managers working with major US firms, writing and proposing new pages, training and coaching communications professionals – Verizon, Thunderbird School of Global Management
  15. 15. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Jimbo’s Bright Line ¡ Introduced in 2012 ¡ The only clearly-articulated “best practice” now operating ¡ Not a policy on English Wikipedia, but widely recognized ¡ “Focus on the edit, not the editor”? Not here
  16. 16. “I am opposed to allowing paid advocates to edit in article space at all, but am extremely supportive of [giving them] other helpful paths to assist us” — Jimmy Wales
  17. 17. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Donovan House Group A group of 12 digital PR leaders, Wikipedians and academics met here on February 7, 2014 to discuss issues affecting both communities
  18. 18. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms Not the catchiest name, or the most specific, but we’re pretty sure it’s the right one
  19. 19. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Key points from the statement Participating firms pledged… ¡ To seek to better understand the fundamental principles guiding Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. ¡ To act in accordance with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, particularly those related to "conflict of interest." ¡ To abide by the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use. ¡ To the extent we become aware of potential violations of Wikipedia policies by our respective firms, to investigate the matter and seek corrective action, as appropriate and consistent with our policies. ¡ Beyond our own firms, to take steps to publicize our views and counsel our clients and peers to conduct themselves accordingly.
  20. 20. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Participating Firms, June 2014 ¡ Beutler Ink ¡ Ogilvy & Mather ¡ FleishmanHillard ¡ Peppercomm ¡ Burson-Marsteller ¡ Ketchum ¡ Porter Novelli ¡ Voce Communications ¡ Edelman ¡ Allison+Partners ¡ Glover Park Group
  21. 21. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Participating Firms, Aug. 2014 ¡ Beutler Ink ¡ Ogilvy & Mather ¡ FleishmanHillard ¡ Peppercomm ¡ Burson-Marsteller ¡ Ketchum ¡ Porter Novelli ¡ Voce Communications ¡ Edelman ¡ Allison+Partners ¡ Glover Park Group ¡ Hill+Knowlton Strategies ¡ MSLGROUP ¡ Augur ¡ LEVICK ¡ RFBinder + Partners ¡ Roepke Public Relations ¡ Text100 ¡ New Venture Communications ¡ DeMoss ¡ Fahlgren Mortine ¡ Lawson Mulvihill ¡ Weber Shandwick ¡ Keene Communications ¡ Waggener Edstrom ¡ Cohn & Wolfe ¡ Finn Partners ¡ Kwittken ¡ Access Communications ¡ Golin ¡ Linhart PR ¡ Chandler Chicco Companies ¡ Citizen Relations ¡ Nereus ¡ Ruder Finn ¡ MM2 Public Relations
  22. 22. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Industry Coverage Plus: AdAge, Al Jazeera America, BBC, CNET, Gawker, HBR, Inc., Politico, Slate, TechDirt, The Daily Dot, The Independent, The Verge, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Wired, ZDNet... and many more!
  23. 23. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Industry Reaction Agencies are very interested in this; here’s an internal memo from a global firm directing its team members to follow these principles
  24. 24. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 A French perspective ¡ Orange / France Telecom – A study case of correct company engagement ¡ How COI is dealt with on the French Wikipedia – Much simpler than you would expect from French! ¡ Yamaha – We’re pushing away free knowledge…
  25. 25. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 CAC40 Wikipedia’s article On the French Wikipedia, even articles regarding the most important French companies are far from being good articles. Some are even just stubs
  26. 26. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Orange improved Orange’s article Big time. And nothing was rolled back
  27. 27. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 On the Village Pump (le Bistro) ¡ Some editors asked questions, but these were quickly answered
  28. 28. It’s key to distinguish an edit with a COI that is purely promotional from one that is fixing a mistake.
  29. 29. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Yamaha wants to value its history And they put up a wiki so their community can edit it
  30. 30. Progetto Telecom Italia The first (to our knowledge) joint project between a company, a university and a local Wikimedia chapter 03.
  31. 31. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Who we are ¡ Wikimedia Italia Italian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation – Frieda Brioschi (President at the time) – Cristian Consonni (Vice President at the time) ¡ Telecom Italia Leading Italian telecom operator: Telecom Italia, Tim, Tim Brazil, Sparkle, Olivetti are the Group’s main brands. – Federico Ascari (Former Corporate Communication, now Brand Development Projects) ¡ Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano Private university founded in Milan in 1920 – Nicoletta Vittadini (Associate Professor, Sociology of communication and culture)
  32. 32. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 What we have done ¡ Training phase We organised lessons about: – Wikipedia and its policies – History of telecommunication in Italy – History of the former telco in Italy – Recent history of Telecom Italia – Wikipedia as an important business “tool” (Lundquist) – The experience of an it.wiki sysop – Visit of historical archive in Turin ¡ Editing phase Students were divided in two groups who edited: – Telecom Italia articles in Italian and English – Related articles
  33. 33. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 The project Who was involved and why A group of six university students chose the project for their final bachelor dissertation • Completing and extending articles that refer to Telecom Italia on Wikipedia • Enriching these articles with external sources but with sources by Telecom Italia historical archive too (1) Valentina Frigato (Valentina F.) (2) Snowdrop (Giulia) (3) Chiarada91 (Chiara) (4) Vale14orla (Valentina O.) (5) Kate Riddle (Eleonora) (6) Valeria Sorrenti (Valeria)
  34. 34. “Be transparent and this project will work well!” — Mono the monkey
  35. 35. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 How we avoid NNPOV ¡ Being transparent! (i.e. following the «Paid editing guidelines» before they even existed) – The students had a template in their user page – When updating pages they left a message in the talk page before starting to modify – Two peer review processes were requested ¡ “Gated” approach Company → Students → Wikipedia Wikimedians
  36. 36. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Outcomes ¡ Results – Mapping Telecom Italia presence on Wikipedia – Benchmarking of articles about other telcos – ~ 200 new references (100 in Telecom Italia article) – ~ 20 images uploaded – 2 new articles written – 2 articles peer reviewed (Telecom Italia and STIPEL) – ~ 650 total edits on articles ¡ Things to watch out for – Scale can be hard to reach (i.e. more students, more articles, more companies) – Explain that a Wikipedia article is not a Facebook page – Expect interactions to follow the corporate style Ar$cles in Italian involved: Telecom Italia, Telve, Set, S$pel, Te$, Telecom Argen$na, Tim Brasil, Franco Bernabè e Marco Patuano. Ar$cle in English involved: Telecom Italia
  37. 37. The Future of Whatever We Decide to Call It Beyond Donovan House and CIPR 04.
  38. 38. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Coming in September 2014
  39. 39. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 A professional guide —Where Wikipedia is coming from —Why to follow these rules —How to set up an account —How to ask for help —Troubleshooting common issues —Creating a company policy —Guidelines + glossary
  40. 40. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Language is part of the problem ¡ On the Wikipedia side… – Conflict of interest (COI) – Paid editing – Paid advocacy ¡ On the industry side… – Public relations – Marketing – Marcomms – Communications ¡ We need a better vocabulary
  41. 41. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PAID EDITING WIKIMANIA - AUG 10, 2014 Where do we go from here? ¡ Toward a more professional Wikipedia? ¡ Will there ever be an official policy? ¡ WMF of Content Creation? ¡ OTRS of Content Triage? ¡ Relationship to GLAM?
  42. 42. Thanks, Wikimania 2014!

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